What's the oldest internet meme you can remember seeing/hearing?

For reference (and memory-joggers) see Internet meme.

I can’t be sure if it was the guy in the cubicle smashing his keyboard and knocking his monitor out into the hallway or the chimp poking his finger in his ass and then sniffing it and falling off a log.

As you probe your memory and your saved links, try to identify your earliest sources for such things. Now that YouTube has become a standard for passing them along it’s hard to remember their precursors.

Someone set us up the bomb

Video: Dancing Baby, 1996. Website, probably Mahir. I kiss you!

Dancing baby, no question.

______ ate my balls. Which I believe predated all your base and possibly hamster dance.

Hmmm… either dancing baby, or all your base.

Dancing baby for sure.

Bert is Evil!

Here’s a clip of the chimp from one of my first sources, eBaum’s World: Chimp Sniffs Finger and Faints

And the other one I mentioned: Office Guy Gets Angry and Smashes Computer in Cubicle

All your base …

“All your base are belong to us” I faintly remember from the early 90s from some awful Japanese game that was badly translated on Sega or Nintendo.

I recall “I is in your base and kill ur doods” or something like that, but drawing a blank from what or when…

Spam came into being in the 1980s.

Now that would be still harder to remember: your first spam! I haven’t a clue. I tend to forget glurge, too. Which came first?

What about those ASCII drawings?

The first email glurgy spammy thing I remember was the Nieman Marcus Cookie Recipe story.

I’d consider The Story of Mel from the mid to late 80’s an internet meme. It was certainly being passed around via email and usenet.

As well as that fake story about the guy at the hotel who got all that soap delivered to his room.

This one for me as well.

Yeah. I remember that. I’m unclear as to when those things that were passed along in the “Xerox circuit” (which received about as much use as legitimate company business at the copier) transitioned to company email (all within the company network) and eventually (by the 90’s for sure) to actual internet access and real life email. Home computing with real internet access began for me around 1996 or so. I had had a Commodore 64 and used BBS’s since the early 80’s. So it’s hard to separate the sources of all that nonsense and to know when to regard some of that as real “internet memes.”

If I had just realized at the time how important all that was…

According to KnowYourMeme…

Dancing Baby & Ate My Balls are 1996.
All Your Base, Bert Is Evil & Hampster Dance are 1998.

I remember seeing the dancing baby (which I hated) on my friend’s AOL account before I had Internet (I was just on BBSes and I don’t remember any memes there).

Good job on the dates, ZipperJJ. Some of the other earlier ones I can vaguely pin down are the “Badger, badger…” and all those shock faces that would jump out and scare the piss out of you.

Much like others, the transition from BBSes and FIDOnet to early networks like GEnie to modern email to first fumblings on the internet to the web is all a long blur in my mind. I began with BASIC-programmable HP engineering computers around 1974, had a variety of small junk until my first PC around 1984, ran a FIDOnet hub around 1985, got email and Usenet around 1987, and fumbled onto the web as it came into being. Many of the memes precede the web in one form or another. I was aware of Dancing Baby (and hated it is too weak a term), but the first genuine web meme that sticks in my mind is the godawful Hampster Dance. I don’t know when The Button or The Red Button came along, but it was almost as early.